Dec 1, 2009

fighting the good fight....and losing

well, i sucked spectacularly at nablopomo.  but i'm ok with that because at least it reminded me that i do indeed still have a blog and have things that i like to write about now and then.  so while i managed to fail the challenge of writing 30 posts in 30 days, i hope to write on a more regular basis.

therefore, in keeping with the theme of this blog (fights i've lost), here are a few examples of recent challenges:

me v. the outlet mall:  winner - outlet mall.  how could i resist 50% off at banana republic??

me v. the boss:  winner - boss.  there is no point in arguing with someone who is more concerned about you having your outlook calendar up to date than what you are actually doing in your job.  i basically just forfeited this one for the sake of my own sanity.

me v. the fudge:  winner - fudge.  this was no contest.  having been sent back to chicago with a pound of my mom's delicious homemade fudge, i have been powerless to resist. 

me v. the traffic:  winner - traffic.  it took 6 hours to get to indianapolis on wednesday night (usually a 3 hour drive).  thank god jill was at the end of the journey with wine!

me v. the tree lights:  winner - me, barely.  after an hour of painstaking light-arranging on my parents' christmas tree, the bottom layer of lights went out.  i almost threw the tree out the front door. luckily, after jiggling them a few times they came back on.  i hope that's not a fire hazard.... mom and dad - keep a close eye on that!

me v. the cw:  winner - the cw.  (this one i blame fully on my roommate)  the cw is the network that shows shows like "gossip girl", "90210", "melrose place", etc.  i have gotten sucked in to 2 shows on this channel but have vowed not to get started on any more!

me v. the happy hour:  winner - duh.  do i even have to answer this one?

me v. the allergies:  winner - allergies.  i cannot seem to breathe like a normal human for even one day. 

me v. the birds:  winner - birds.  no matter where i park, they find my car and turn it into target practice.

me v. the parking:  winner - me.  i do pretty much rock at wedging my car into the tiniest spaces.

me v. the christmas shopping:  winner - right now the unfinished shopping is winning, but i'm pretty sure i'm going to end up being victorious and having it done by the end of the week.

me v. the work:  winner - work.  speaking of, i better get back to it! 

Nov 18, 2009

"it wasn't pretty but you did it. and now you'll do it again."

yesterday i went for my first training session with a personal trainer.  i've never been one to spend money on something like this in the past, but i've gotten to the point where i feel like i really need someone to help me figure out a good workout that will give me results, so i decided to take the plunge a buy a few sessions to get me on track. 

so, i got there yesterday and walked up to the counter to tell the person working that i was there for a training session with kevin. and of course, kevin happens to be the most gorgeous trainer they have on staff.  doh.  i really should have asked for a less attractive trainer so i could have more comfortably discussed my weight (ouch), my eating and drinking habits (waaaay too much alcohol), and the dreaded BMI (anyone want to talk obesity?!).  but, i was honest, figuring a) i'm not there because kevin and i met on and are trying to date, b) if i'm not honest, he can't put together an appropriate plan for me and c) he's going to see me sweat, groan and possibly cry in the coming weeks, so i don't think being honest up front is the worst experience he's going to have with me.

all in all it went well, though it was more of an assessment than a regular training session so that he could measure my endurance levels, balance & flexibility, etc.  officially, my training starts on saturday at 2pm.  pray for me. 

p.s. - the title of this blog is a quote from dear kevin after seeing me do a particularly heinous series of drills.  bless his heart.

Nov 16, 2009

monday meme

(note: this was supposed to post on monday - hence the title - but it failed to work somehow, so i am back dating it and will post another blog today)

1.What is your current obsession ?

Researching MBA programs, stressing out about my first personal trainer session (eeek) and making plans for my annual Christmas visit to London!

2. What are you wearing today?

Black pants, green fitted sweater, black heels (the higher the better!)

3. What’s for dinner?

Greek food!  I'm going out in Greektown for a friend's birthday.  Opa!

4. What’s the last thing you bought?

Beer and a turkey burger at the bar last night; before that - personal training sessions.  Those things don't really go together, do they??

5. What are you listening to right now?

Ryan Adams via my co-worker's Pandora streaming on her computer.  I love sitting next to Kim!

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

No tag, this was self-inflicted.  But, I did see it on Gary's blog and I think he is quite fabulous.

7. If you could have a house, totally paid for, fully furnished, anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?


8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?

comfy skirts, capris, flip flops

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?


10. Which language do you want to learn?


11. What’s your favorite quote?

"Expect nothing and you will rarely be disappointed" is sort of my mantra, but I also love this one from Albert Einstein: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
You said it, Al!

12. Who do you want to meet right now?

Peyton Manning so I can give him a big kiss for beating the Patriots last night!

13. What is your favorite color?


14. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own closet?

Black fleece pullover

15. What is your dream job?

To be the head of a corporate foundation

16. What's your favorite magazine?

In Style

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

Probably a mani/pedi and a massage

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?

Being able to see people's cracks when they bend over.  Some of us are just not meant to wear super low-cut jeans!  Also, white socks with black shoes. 

19. Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?

Jessica Biel.  Ick.

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?

Longer than shoulder length with layers

21. What are you going to do after this?

Leaving to meet my friend for lunch - yay!

22. What are your favorite movies?

Love Actually, Sex & the City, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

23. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can't live without?

Aquage shine spray, C.O. Bigelow lip gloss, OPI nail polish

24. What inspires you ?

People who have gone through loss, illness and other issues and still keep a positive attitude and keep living their lives

25. Give us three styling tips that always work for you?

Baby oil on your body right after you turn off the shower, before you dry off - keeps skin soft all day; hair powder is genius on days when you're running late and don't have time to wash your hair; seche vite top coat over your self done nail polish will make your nails look like you've had a professional manicure or pedicure

26. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?

Borrow from my roommate!

27. Coffee or tea?


28. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?

Call friends to get together and drink wine; take a long bath; go to yoga

29. What is the meaning of your name?

I had to google this.  Apparently it can mean brave and/or courageous.  Who knew?!

30. Which other blogs do you love visiting?

The links listed on my blog plus other random finds that I see on other people's blogs

31. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

32. Favorite Season?


33. If I come to your house now, what would you cook for me?

Hahahaha!  Trust me, you wouldn't want me to do that.  We would order sushi.

34. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?

Tell them directly that you won't put up with their actions anymore.

35. How do you calm yourself down when you are agitated or angry?

Music, venting to friends/family

36.Who is the modern ideal girl: The one who knows how to shop, dress and enjoy, or the one who is simple but manages the house, kids and herself well?

My sister. 

Nov 12, 2009

good intentions pave the road to the bar

yesterday morning i had a conversation with self about getting in shape.  i'm always complaining about wishing i could lose a little weight or wanting to get back into those smaller pants, but i have been very bad about actually making a strong and continued effort to do these things.  so, yesterday morning i packed my gym bag and vowed to stop at the gym i've been wanting to check out on my way home from work.  i even kept myself psyched about it all day, up to the time i was getting off the elevator and walking toward the exit.  and then it happened.  a few of my co-workers were leaving ahead of me and asked if i wanted to go for a drink to celebrate our colleague's birthday.  and so i did.  and then i went to dinner with them at a mexican restaurant which boasts to be home to "the killer margarita" so you can just imagine how the night ended up. 

maybe tonight i will sleep in my workout clothes and see if that helps....

Nov 11, 2009

it's 11/11, make a wish!

many of you have heard people say that when the clock strikes 11:11, you get to make a wish. (well, unless you're like me and think you should make four wishes, one for each number 1 and for better odds that at least one of the four will come true)  so today, in honor of the date 11/11, i'm going to make one big wish, but i haven't quite decided what that is yet. 

what are you wishing for today?

Nov 10, 2009

the plus one conundrum

me:  so did you see the email about the wedding in september?

self:  yup.  mexico!  maybe we can lose some weight and get ourselves a little spray tan by then, eh?

me:  yes, we'll do that.  and get a great dress for the wedding and maybe stay a couple of extra days for fun!

self:  and have you thought about what else comes with this fabulous time?

me:  margaritas?

self:  yes.  and?

me:  beach wedding?

self:  yes....

me:  sun and food and music and an all-around good time?  and celebrating with our friend S? and maybe some really good guacamole?  ooh!  and maybe we can go back to fajita republic and --

self:  yeah, yeah, all of that.  think!  you're not thinking clearly.

me:  what?!  what are you talking about?  money issues?  because we have plenty of time to save up and the place is ALL INCLUSIVE!  fabulous!

self:  (big sigh and even bigger eyeroll)  two words - plus. one. 

me:  ohhhhhhhh..... that......

self:  yes, THAT.

me:  well, we go to weddings and stuff all the time without a plus one.  no big deal.

self:  we go to weddings where we have large groups of close friends or family who are also attending.  no need to have a plus one at those things, in fact we usually prefer it that way so we don't have to babysit a date and make sure he's having fun.  this is different.

me:  i cannot believe i'm going to say this, but you might be right. 

self:  holy crap.  put it on the calendar!  you admitted i was right!

me:  oh, calm down.  ok, let's think about this.  destination wedding where a few people i know will be invited, but may or may not attend.  bride and groom will be crazy busy the whole time.  i'm good at talking to people and having fun even if i don't really know the group, but for a whole weekend it would be great to have someone there with us who we know... 

self:  no kidding.  it gets pretty boring hanging out with just you. 

me:  shhhhhh.  ok, so what do we do?

self:  we have no choice.  the plus one challenge is on like donkey kong.  surely to god even you can find someone in the course of the next 10 months. 

me: gee, thanks for the vote of confidence.  sometimes i think you root for us to fail.

self:  (feigning shock) i would never do such a thing. 

me:  right....

self:  i'll be your personal cheerleader for this one.  just do not accept any help from our friend ann.  bless her heart, she tries - well, sorta.  mostly she likes to try to embarrass us and hook us up with the ickiest guys in the bar.  remember that one guy who started petting your hair?!  eeeek!!!

me:  yeah, that was pretty disturbing.  gross.  ok, so no help from ann unless she's going to actually help and not make a mockery of this. 

self:  agreed.  and anyone is fair game, so help from friends, roommates - ok, again with the exception of tim - work colleagues, etc. whoever has single, decent, available guys they can at least introduce us to must be drafted.

me:  ok, i guess we'll see how it goes.

self:  we'll do great!  just wait and see!

me:  wow.  that was actually supportive.  amazing.

self:  well, i figure if we don't succeed, there's always the option to rent an escort.

me:  and just when i thought i had you in my corner.... 

self:  let the games begin.

Nov 9, 2009

weekends don't count, right??

ok, ok, so i'm not doing as well as i had hoped with nablopomo.  i realize i started a day late and am now a couple of days short on the blogging.  still, i'm proud of myself for attempting to post a blog each day.  since i was absent from the blogging world the last two days, i figured i'd give you a recap of what was keeping me away from my computer....

had a fantastic day in bloomington with friends and parents.  the weather was perfect for a day of tailgating, football, drinking, and cornhole.  i finally got to see jill & nick's new home and we had a great time reminiscing about the old college days.  after a solid 12+ hours of drinking we finally called it a night, but not until adam and i defeated everyone and reigned as the supreme euchre champs of the weekend. 

after breakfast and showers, we headed out of bloomington and decided to stop at the brown county winery along the way.  we did a little wine tasting and purchased a few bottles then hit the road again.  after a while we stopped for lunch at bw3 and i got to see the first half of the colts game.  we headed on to chicago after that and i spent last night hanging out with my roommates.

and on a few unrelated notes....

i HATE the kay jeweler commercials.  i saw the first christmas one of the season just now and i threw up in my mouth a little.  ick.

someone clipped my bumper on my way home tonight so i'll be taking my car for a wash to see if the paint rubs off.  if not, i'll be calling this chick and her insurance company.  fun times.

i'm an idiot and when i had to re-set the time on my coffee maker yesterday, i accidentally set it for pm instead of am.  imagine my disappointment when i got up this morning expecting hot coffee and found instead that i had 12 hours to wait for it to brew.  doh!

i was extremely impressed with myself when i found that i could sing pretty much every word to john michael montgomery's song "sold (grundy county auction)" when it came on xm radio on our way to bloomington on friday. 

sometimes i have really good hair.  today is not one of those days.

Nov 6, 2009

cooking 101

it's been a joke in my family for a while that a few of us women-folk don't cook all that well, or at least manage to have a lot of minor disasters in the kitchen when we try to prepare food.  some of us have issues making desserts, some have problems with main dishes.  i have problems with boiling water.  that's right - if it requires boiling water, i might end up a) throwing it away, b) calling the fire department or c) consulting a physician.  with that said, i give you my top three recipes of boiling disasters:

1.  No-bake cookies (attention should be paid to the word "no-bake")
     - measure appropriate amount of water for boiling and pour into pot on stove top
     - turn on stove to boil water, go to measure out other ingredients
     - turn around to check status of water and see flames shooting out of burner
     - scream and panic for 15-30 seconds (the shorter time, the better)
     - put oven mitt on hand and bravely turn off stove top
     - run away into living room and watch to see what happens
     - celebrate not burning down the house when the flames go out by going to the store to buy bakery cookies and wine

2.  Hard-boiled eggs
     - put pot of water and eggs on stove top
     - turn burner on high in order to boil water
     - go into living room to wait until water boils to start timer
     - check email, talk on phone and get caught up in an old beverly hills 90210 episode on tv
     - go into kitchen later to get something to drink
     - glance at stove and shout a string of curse words
     - run to stove and turn off burner
     - look in pot, see no water
     - dump eggs into sink and observe brownish-black color of shells
     - throw away and go out for breakfast

3.  Pasta/Rice
     - put pot of water on stove
     - turn burner on high to bring water to a boil
     - wander aimlessly around kitchen deciding what to put in pasta
     - finally decide to make rice instead, get out rice and see only 2 cups of water are needed
     - check status of water on stove top
     - see boiling water and think it would be a waste to throw it out, put new water on to boil and have to wait
     - take pot to sink
     - using a one-cup measuring cup, scoop one cup of boiling water out of pot, pour into a separate container
      - dip cup in water again and pour water into separate container, held by innocent left hand
      - miss cup completely and douse left hand with scalding water
      - run around kitchen screaming
      - run back to sink and rinse hand with cool water, cursing self for being a moron
      - continue to attend to hand by putting cool compresses on it throughout the evening
      - order pizza
      - tape ice pack to scalded hand, take a tylenol pm and go to bed

Nov 5, 2009

allergic reactions

i've been fighting allergies and asthma my whole life. i've been on countless medications, tried allergy injections, endured wheezing, sneezing and swollen eyes in order to hang out in a place where my allergies were aggravated, and have shown up at the emergency room so short of breath i could barely carry my keys because the extra weight was almost too much to bear more times than i care to remember. my allergies and the asthma attacks they trigger have kept me from attending parties, staying overnight at friends' houses, going to work functions at someone's home, and dating guys who have pets to which i am allergic. i've missed days of school and work, have had to book hotel rooms when visiting friends i would normally stay with except for the fact that they have pets, and have had to be very careful when booking vacation rentals to make sure i'm not staying in a "pet-friendly" room that may have had a dog in it before i arrived. my friends tease me that i need to live in a bubble, which, to some degree, i've felt in reality now and then. it's not fun to be the person who is left out or who has to sit in a hard wooden chair in a room without carpet while everyone else is in the living room, lounging on sofas and carpeted areas that hold dander. even then, there's a good chance i'll be miserable and will have to leave early. it's frustrating and annoying with the worst part being that this is something that will never change for me.

so why am i going into ridiculous detail about how miserable my allergies and asthma have made me over the years? because people don't get it. people who do not have severe allergies and/or asthma and have never seen a friend or loved one in the midst of an asthma attack so bad that their doctor actually says that person has NO BREATH SOUNDS (yes, this was what my doctor told me once), they don't get it. that's not to say that people don't try to be sympathetic. i hear things all the time like, "isn't there medication for that?" "can't you take a shot?" "yeah, i get a stuffy nose, too, when i'm around animals" "we'll only stay for a little while and you can tell me when you need to leave", etc. but i still don't think everyone truly understands and that's ok. at least they try to be nice about it. the people who really piss me off are those who dismiss allergies as not real, something that we make up because we don't like animals, or that we're being overly dramatic. i'm really sick of hearing from these people who can let their pet lay on their face and not have any sort of physical reaction tell me that i'm lying about the severity of my allergies.

this is the preface for what i'm about to say. i do not want to sit next to your pet on an airplane. does that mean i hate your pet or animals in general? no, of course not. if given the choice of sitting next to an animal that may urinate, poop, or yap for the duration of a flight, i would guess most people would choose to sit elsewhere just as a matter of their own comfort. i know most people would also choose not to sit next to a small child if given the option, but at least a child can have a diaper change and has a parent who can talk rationally to him or her in an effort to keep them calm and entertained. not that i'm comparing children to animals, but a lot of people seem to see them in the same category in travel situations.

still, the reason i don't want your pet next to me on a flight is not because of the potential noise or smell, it's because i'm allergic to it. i don't care if it is in a carrier and has to stay there for the entire length of the flight, per FAA regulations. your dog makes me physically ill and there is nothing i can do about it. sure, there's a chance that if the dog stays in the carrier under the seat, the likelihood of my allergies being affected is lower, but that doesn't mean i should have to take that risk. just because you want your pooch to go on vacation with you does not mean those of us with allergies should suffer. now that the airline industry is jumping on board with the option for cabin pets (and let's be honest, the revenue they can generate for allowing people to turn their pets into carry-on luggage), those of us with allergies are going to have to deal with more issues than the non-allergic passenger.

i looked at several airline websites before writing this, in hopes that i would find a clear policy as to their stance on how passenger allergy issues are addressed when there are pets on a flight. i could not find that information on any of the sites i checked. there's plenty of information about the type of carrier you can have, that the animals have to be "harmless, inoffensive and odorless" - right, good luck trying to get your pet to control its "odors" - how to get through security with a carry-on pet, etc. there was NO mention of how passengers with allergies should go about securing a seat away from someone traveling with a pet. there were no guidelines as to how to deal with a seating issue if the person next to you sits down with their pup in tow. there was nothing to state who gets preferential treatment - the person or the animal. i'm sure the crew members are given a more extensive outline of how to deal with these situations, but as a passenger i would like to know ahead of time so that i don't create a scene when i have to ask that the person next to me be re-seated because their dog could give me an asthma attack. i don't want to have to see the annoyed eye-rolls or the frustrated glares that i will most likely get when i have to come clean and admit that i have a legitimate health problem that could very easily be exacerbated by the animal flying near me. i think these policies need to be published and those traveling with pets should have to reveiw them before flying so that there are no surprises when i politely ask the flight attendant to re-seat fluffy and her human to somewhere besides my row. the sad truth is, i would most likely be the one who would be asked to move. sorry, but i'm not giving up my window seat because i'm next to someone with a pet and i have no qualms about making that known. if it's an upgrade to first class, however, we can talk.

there is one exception that i am absolutely happy to make - service animals. those traveling with service animals clearly need their assistance and i would never make a big deal over that. in that case, i would be glad to have the crew re-seat me. as one with a medical condition, i have to travel with medications; some people have to travel with service animals. it's just the way it goes.

i'm not an animal hater. in fact, if i could get a dog, i'd love to have one. but i can't and being around one in a confined space such as an airplane will do nothing but put my health at risk. reading about the changes that a certain airline has made recently to not only allow pets but use this as a marketing tool led me to a plethora of comments about the issue. some people sided with those of us who have allergies, stating:

"Sorry to hear that [airline name omitted] has no regard for those with allergies. There is no way for someone to escape allergens inside a small cabin. To add to that, if there is any severe reaction they would have a real difficulty on their hands. I am greatly disappointed"

"That is totally unfair to people who are allergice to cats, dogs, etc. If you wind up sitting next to the person with the pet then you can have a horrible allergic reaction while you are up in the air. Then what is [the airline] going to do? They should rethink this idea of allowing pets in the cabin with the passengers."

"How sad that airlines are so money hungry. There is no way that they considered people with allergies. Make no mistake, all allergy medicines will not be salvation to a person having an attack. I've been there. The airlines won't realize the error of their ways until either a person has a catastrophic attack and become hospitalized or God-forbid, dies from the pet allergy. Then, a lawsuit will be in order. Make no beans about, I've got just one time to experience a bad attack, and I won't hestitate to visit my lawyer! Can we say lawsuit?"

and then there are the ones who would rather travel with their pets in the cabin of the plane than stop to consider what that might do to the comfort and health of others:

"Anyone who is severely allergic to pets should always have their medications with them. The NIH says that Allergens are carried on clothes, among other things. So just sitting next to a pet owner on a plane or going to a restaurant can cause an allergy sufferer to have problems. If you know you are very allergic, take precautions. Bring your medicine, wear a mask. Most of us have our medical issues to deal with and be glad yours aren't worse."

hmmm.... am i glad that i have allergies instead of cancer? of course. will wearing a mask or taking medicine help me? nope. is being severely allergic to the point where i could have an asthma attack in an airlplane where there would not be the appropriate medical treatment not a bad enough medical condition for you? no? thanks for being so understanding. asshole.

"The air in most all aircraft is cyled out with clean outside air about every two minutes, so you who complain about allergies need to stop complaining about something that most likely won't even bother you."

i'm guessing the person who posted this little gem of knowledge is a physician and expert on allergies and asthma. thanks for clearing that up for all of us. moron.

"I think this is better than people that insit on flying with annoying litle children. As afar as people with allergies are concerned, don;'t that have medication for those things?"

first of all, you should really spell check before you post a comment like that because you already sound stupid enough by what you're saying. secondly, children are PEOPLE and while it can sometimes be frustrating to be on a flight with a crying child, think of how frustrated the parents are while they are trying to calm the child down and avoid the evil stares from those around them. and last i checked, children do not actually pose a health threat. thirdly, there are medications for allergies?!! really?!! wow!! that must mean there's a magic pill that cures allergies that none of my doctors have known about for the last 30 years. amazing that you seem to know it all. fucking idiot.

i could go on and on, but this diatribe has already gotten out of control and my soapbox is starting to bow under the weight of this argument. so let me just leave you with this - be nice to people with allergies. it is not a fake medical condition and can cause truly severe health issues in many cases. we are just as frustrated by our allergies as those around us are by us having to make a big deal of them. and if you must fly with your pet, please be respectful if someone sitting near you asks to be moved or requests you be re-seated. it's not personal, it's just the allergies talking.

Nov 4, 2009

weirdo wednesday

i've had an exhausting couple of days, so i'm going totally cheat on my blog post today. (doesn't bode well when i'm taking shortcuts on day 3, which should really be day 4, does it?) so until i can come back tomorrow rested and refreshed and ready to write (i have mad alliteration skills, by the way), here are some snippets of weird news that made me go hmmmm.....

you know you hate your job if you do what this guy did:

and you certainly should not have children if you think this is ok:

and you should probably try not to get arrested for drunk driving while dressed like this:;_ylt=Ak5__aESReD8P2siNWQ4Xi7tiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTJ1c29xbnZsBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkxMTA0L3VzX29kZF9icmVhdGhhbHl6ZXJfaGFsbG93ZWVuBGNwb3MDMQRwb3MDMgRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNwb2xpY2VicmVhdGg

it's comforting to know that as often as i do dumb things or act before i think, i've never been as big an idiot as these morons.

back tomorrow with something insightful and thought-provoking. i promise.

Nov 3, 2009

give me the books boys and free my soul

i had a very bad day today. a VERY bad day. granted, it could have been much worse. no one that i love was in an accident, died or got diagnosed with cancer. but i still had a bad day and though i'm not physically affected, my emotions and tension level were through the roof by about noon today. needing some time without a ringing phone, email or project deadlines looming, i went to a nearby bookstore for some much needed solace.

walking into the store i immediately felt a slight sense of relief. i wandered through each area, trying to forget for a little while the issues that had been causing me so much tension and frustration all morning. i wound through the shelves, running my fingers along the spines of books that held stories of people's lives, of mysteries and thrillers, of tragic love stories and historical accounts of days gone by. i thumbed through art and architecture books letting the colors, lines and shapes soak into my mind. i imagined what it would be like to visit every place in the travel section and learn every language for which there was a study guide. i looked at the cheery kids books, thinking of how my niece and nephew would tear through them (somewhat literally) if they were there. i looked wistfully at holiday stories new and old, reminding myself that in a few short weeks i would be with my sister and her family in london where my stressors couldn't reach me unless i let them.

after a good part of an hour had flown by, i selected a book to purchase, ordered a cup of coffee and took a little extra time to sit quietly in the cafe and relax. i reflected on my mood after an hour among the books and realized that while i was still frustrated and stressed, i was much better. for me there is something truly calming about wandering through a bookstore, looking at the titles and holding the books in my hands. the weight of the books help center me somehow and yet the stories inside hold a promise of forgetting, of immersing myself in a different world if only for a little while.

thank you, books, and i look forward to our next therapy session.

Nov 2, 2009


me: adam thinks we should do NaBloPoMo

self: do you HEAR the eyes rolling back in our head??

me: oh ye of little faith

self: sorry to burst your blogging bubble, but have you looked at the calendar? it's november 2. this month of crazy psychotic blogging began yesterday, a day when there was nothing but crickets from our blog

me: i know, i know. i just didn't think about it because, well....

self: say it. because you were at the bar drinking beer and doing shots in the middle of the day while watching football and you couldn't be bothered to think about anything else besides cocktails and the colts.

me: wow, self, have you been to rehab when i wasn't looking?

self: i'm just saying, we - and by we i mean you - don't have the best track record on following through, especially when there's no consequences for quitting and you are the only one to keep yourself motivated. don't drag me down with you and your procrastinating ways this time!

me: just for that we're doing it. so there. better get the creative juices flowing, self, because you've been disappointing in the witty writing category lately.

self: maybe if you'd drag yourself away from desperate housewives, glee, private practice, mad men and all of those other people you've been paying attention to, you would have heard me screaming with ideas.

me: ok, fine. less tv, more blogging. but you better come through for me. don't make us look like a collective idiot this month when people will actually be expecting posts daily.

self: you do a fine job of making us look like an idiot all on your own.

me: why do i keep you around?

self: because of my razor sharp wit and charming personality?

me: more like the meds don't work very well....

self: enough. it's time for blogging. good luck and godspeed.

me: ditto.

(note by author - i fully apologize for the potentially craptastic posts that may be headed your way throughout the month of november. please bear with

Oct 16, 2009

commander of contempt

This ran in USA Today on Thursday, October 15: (particularly offensive points bolded by me)


As a retired Air Force pilot with combat experience during
the Persian Gulf War, let me provide your readers with a typical commander's
of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy: We should have never had it in
the first place. Discrimination against those who desire to serve in the armed
forces is not only historic, it's also essential.
Putting together an effective
fighting force is the responsibility of civilian and military commanders,
whether in the field, the Pentagon or the White House. National military police,
which I helped to craft, should enhance commanders' functions, not hamstring
them. I had enough problems with sleeping arrangements for women on my aircrew, let alone gay men. I should not have to worry about room assignments, who's bunking with whom, who is offended by the gay soldier or airman, or whether he's angry because no one will talk to him. I am a father to my daughter, not to men
in combat. These issues, and many others that social experiments create, stand
squarely in the way of developing an effective fighting force. America, the U.S.
armed forces to exist to protect you and your way of life, not to appease the
desires of those on the fringe of society.

Keith Hutcheson - Athens, Ga.

I truly hope that this is not, as Mr. Hutcheson states, the "typical commander's assessment" of gays in the military. I was going to write about how closed-minded, disrespectful, bigoted and disgusting I find Mr. Hutcheson, but I think my friend Adam covered this so well over at his blog that I am linking to his post here. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Oct 9, 2009

take me home, country roads

i realized this morning as i was taking a shower that i was unconsciously humming a song. (i don't belt out songs in the shower for fear of scaring my roommates and making them think the sound of my singing is actually a small animal trapped somewhere in the vents of the apartment, screaming for help)

i stopped and realized that the song i had stuck in my head was "take me home, country roads" by john denver. it may sound strange to those of you reading this (if there is still anyone out there who checks my blog), but it is actually very appropriate for today, and this weekend in general. you see, today several of my family members - mom, dad, aunts, uncles and grandmother - left on a caravan to west virginia where my grandfather's ashes will be put to rest. originally hailing from west virginia, grandad is now returning to his true home, the home where he met my grandmother, fell in love and began the life that brought them so much happiness together. grandad may be gone, but he will live on in spirit in all of us. the country roads have indeed taken him home and we are all lucky to have been along for his journey.

Almost heaven, west virginia
Blue ridge mountains
Shenandoah river
Life is old there
Older than the trees
Younger than the mountains
Growin like a breeze

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

All my memories gathered round her
Miners lady, stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine
Teardrops in my eye

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

I hear her voice
In the mornin hour she calls me
The radio reminds me of my home far away
And drivin down the road I get a feelin
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads
Take me home, now country roads
Take me home, now country roads

Jun 15, 2009

first confession

for some reason, i got to thinking about the catholic sacrament of reconciliation (maybe that's a sign that i've done something bad and need to be asking forgiveness from someone) and my own experience with it. i started my education in catholic school where, as some of you may know, you go through certain ceremonies (a.k.a. sacraments) at an early age. a few months after going through the traumatic process of being born and forced into a loud, bright, strange world of oogling people, you are taken to a church where an old guy in a robe says lots of things you don't understand and then pours cold water on your head, causing you to scream and flail, which is only made more frustrating by the layers of white lacey communion gown shrouding your entire being. everyone smiles at you as you sit there trapped, scared, crying and you wonder what is wrong with all of these people watching the old guy try to drown you without even bothering to help. eventually everyone goes back to your parents' house for cake and you probably receive gifts, most of which have no practical application for you as they tend to be savings bonds and items for your future rather than a nice teething ring or baby einstein video. baptism - check.

usually somewhere in the realm of 1st - 3rd grade you are again presented with the sacraments. and here you thought being held against your will and doused with water was the worst of it. wrong. the next two events in your catholic upbringing are first reconciliation and first communion. now, i really have no complaints about the communion thing because i remember my own quite fondly. i got a rockin' white dress, very grown up dress shoes and lots of photo opps. all i had to do was show up looking fabulous, eat a piece of dried out bread, take a sip of wine and smile nicely for pictures. oh, and eat cake and open gifts at the after party. hello - not a bad way to spend a sunday!

but let's regress. before first communion, you complete your first confession, or reconciliation, as a way to purify your soul and learn how to ask for forgiveness from god. i'll be honest - the thought of going into a confessional and confiding everything i'd done wrong, regardless of whether i'd been caught doing it, freaked me out a little. not sure if the old guy in the robe would give me a penance, i was sort of convinced that i'd burn in hell, so i started to worry. the weeks leading up to my first confession were nerve-wracking and anxiety-filled. by the time the big day came i was thinking i might tell him my sins and, instead of telling me i could be forgiven - with the correct number of incantations of the "hail mary" and "our father", of course - he would shake his head behind the screen, press a button and a trap door would open under me and send me directly to satan himself.

we were herded in like sheep and directed to sit silently and pray while we waited for our turns. one-by-one we were called in and once you finished with your confession, you were sent straight to another area to kneel and conduct your penance. this left everyone waiting on pins and needles, straining to see what each classmate looked like when they came out. would there be tears? would some be sent straight to the prinicpal's office? would there be calls to parents to inform them of just how bad their children were? we were told that our sins were just between us and the priest, and of course jesus, god and everyone in heaven, but that no other living being would be told anything and no one would get in trouble. yeah, right. we knew better than to fold with that flimsy reassurance. still, we had the fear in us from weeks of preparation and the fire and brimstone of what god does to sinners who don't confess, so we were all there to come clean, like it or not.

my turn came and i walked to the confessional, my sweaty little hands fumbling with the door. i knelt and faced the screen, the lines and prayer i needed to say scrawled on a notecard, just in case i got stage fright and forgot. i began as i had been told to - "bless me father for i have sinned. this is my...(pause for effect and deep breath)...first confession." after that, poor father got an earful. i spouted off a laundry list of sins, some true, most not. you see, i was worried after comparing notes with my friends that maybe i didn't have enough sins so i started making things up. i didn't want god to be disappointed or think that i was hiding anything so it was no holds barred - forget the fact that lying to a priest, and in effect god, is probably a worse sin that hitting my sister or being sassy to my parents.

nevertheless, i wrapped it up and let out a gargantuan sigh, awaiting my fate. the priest went through his canned response and finished up with a prayer. i was holding my breath in anticipation and was finally given my sentence. for absolution and forgiveness i simply needed to say several sets of two prayers. i scrambled out of the confessional and joined a few of my classmates, already kneeling and softly chanting their given number of repetitions. we quickly compared our respecive punshments and decided to race to see who could get finished with each prayer, each time it was said, the fastest. it was certainly more interesting that way and we were going to be forgiven, no matter how quickly we finished up, right? i figured god would appreciate our speed since there were 20 of us filling his ear that day.

i don't know how many times i've actually been to confession since then. maybe a handful of times, if that. since i've been old enough to better understand reconciliation as a catholic sacrament, i've thought about that first confession with wry amusement. the hand wringing, the bad dreams, the list of alleged sins.... everything that went into preparing for a day when all i knew was that maybe i wasn't bad enough and saying x number of prayers would wipe my slate clean. i can only imagine what the priest felt, getting up that day, looking at his calendar and seeing that he had to hear the confessions of 20 little snots. i wonder if he made bets with the nuns about how many times he'd hear "i talked back to my parents" or "i hit my brother." i really hope that he took a big ol' chalice of that alter wine in with him and at least had a few cocktails while absolving the second grade class of our heinous sins.

May 7, 2009


was tagged for this by adam, so here it is. if you don't feel like reading, at least check the bottom of the post to see if you've been tagged. :)

1. What are your current obsessions? sangria, the possibility of learning spanish via rosetta stone, things to do when my sister and family are here next month

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often? grey hoodie and black running pants. comfort is key!

3. Last dream you had? oh dear... my dreams are crazy all the time, but last night's consisted of vampires floating in a pool of water where i was stuck on a little raft, but then i blew a whistle and i was transported to a hallway with a very tall man who walked me into a room full of my colleagues waiting for me to present, but i had forgotten my shoes and was worried about being barefoot, so i ran out to the parking lot only to find it was flooded and i had to make my way to the train station through the water but there was no train, only a bus full of people who didn't speak english and wouldn't give me any shoes but then i was trapped on the bus with them and we were in some city in the mountains so i jumped off the bus and started running.... i don't think i need to go on. this is how i dream ALL the time. it's exhausting.

4. Last thing you bought? a 6" subway sammie

5. What are you listening to? my roommate watching tonight's episode of survivor

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be? probably eris, the goddess of discord and chaos

7. Favourite holiday spots? london, st. croix, napa

8. Reading right now? just finished "the namesake" and getting ready to start "roma". still trying to finish "the corrections" - going on 7 years now....

9. Four words to describe yourself sarcastic, easy-going, friendly, realistic

10. Guilty pleasure? back-to-back episodes of old school 90210 on the weekends

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak? my niece

12. Favourite spring thing to do? it's a tie - tennis and/or sitting outside on the deck with friends, cooking out and having drinks

13. When you die, what would you like people to say about you at your funeral? "damn, that woman made a killer cocktail"

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately? mexican fiesta with the roommates on cinco de mayo

15. When did you last go for a night out? in munich at the hofbrauhaus last weekend

16. Where is the next place you'd like to travel? Italy!

17. Care to share some wisdom? expect nothing and you will rarely be disappointed

18. Song you can’t get out of your head? beyonce - "single ladies"

19. Thing you are looking forward to? my sister and family coming to chicago in june!!!!! i cannot explain how excited i am for this!!!!!!

20. Which disease or condition would you most like to see eradicated? i'm torn between cancer and alzheimer's because both have brought a lot of sadness to my family

21. What is your most irrational fear? falling down and breaking my teeth. weird, i know.

22. what irritates you on a regular basis? people who can't drive!!!

23. What is the most important lesson you've learned from someone in your life? to treat everyone fairly and not judge others - from my ma-maw who displayed this every single day

Rules of the game. Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag 6 people.

ready, set, meme! gretchen, lyn, amanda, rachel, colleen (i know that's only 5, but that's all i have to tag!)

Apr 17, 2009

saw this meme over at the noble savage's blog and thought i'd take a stab at it myself...

15 years ago today I would have been:
· a junior in high school who had just gotten a rockin’ new (used) sports car
· prom dress shopping
· in the middle of tennis season playing #2 doubles
· wondering why high school guys are so ridiculously immature

10 years ago today I would have been:
· still at IU, still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up
· buying alcohol for all of my underage friends
· in a horrible relationship refusing to see how badly I was being treated
· working as a server and bartender at a chain restaurant where I ended up meeting some of my very best friends

5 years ago today I would have been:
· having major meltdowns working three jobs and trying to figure out how to make the idea of moving to chicago a reality
· talking to my friend adam daily about our big plans to relocate to the windy city
· helping a non-profit start a local chapter from scratch
· living with two roommates (aka my parents)

1 year ago today I would have been:
· getting excited for my upcoming trip to London and Amsterdam in may
· working in the middle of downtown Chicago on the magnificent mile
· still single and still pretty ok with that
· deciding to move into a new apartment with three roommies (not my parents)
· celebrating my niece’s 2nd birthday an ocean away

This year I am:
· in a new job with a lot more responsibility and creative freedom
· determined to make better financial decisions and make a plan to pay off my remaining debt
· refusing to feel bad for being single and will NOT resort to internet dating, no matter how easy the commercials make it seem
· looking forward to having my sis and family come visit and stay with me!!
· treasuring the moments of laughter and clarity with my grandfather who is suffering from Alzheimer’s
· joining the board of an organization with a mission very close to my heart
· traveling as much as my vacation time and bank account will allow

Today I:
· had lunch with a dear friend
· fought the battle of gym v. happy hour (happy hour won)
· sang at the top of my lungs while driving with my windows rolled down
· forced myself to work on several tedious projects that will pay off down the road
· drank 5 cups of coffee
· am still wondering why guys are so ridiculously immature

Next year I hope:
· to be in a healthier mode – more exercise, better diet, lower bmi
· to be planning my next oversees trip
· to be looking for my own apartment (unless we all agree to suffer another year in the construction zone of 4119!)
· to hold a higher position on the board
· to have moved up in my job

In five years I hope:
· to be in a much higher position in non-profit development or running a corporate foundation
· my sister and family have been convinced to move back to the states and live near me in chicago
· to have traveled to italy, spain, france and greece
· my parents are healthy and well (that goes for my whole family, actually)
· to be debt-free
· to be as close with my friends as I am now, even though many of them will be settling down, getting married and having kids

Feb 5, 2009


this made me chuckle...

"alone people don't like to hear about together people, ok? even if the alone people are alone by choice. it's sort of mean, it's sort of like bringing a six pack to an AA meeting. keep it to yourself." - callie torres, "grey's anatomy"

Jan 29, 2009

we've come for your daughter, chuck

wow, i've been away from the blogging world a long time. the last couple of months have been crazy. i traveled to london and had a great time visiting my sister and her family, followed by returning to the states and giving notice at work, then jetting off to st. croix for a few days of beach and sun, then back home to begin my new job. whew! now that i've been back and have a whole week behind me in the new job and no trips out of the country coming up anytime soon, i figured i'd get back to the business of blogging. after all, i have very important, life-changing things to ponder about, the most recent being the beetlejuice theory.

my friend rachel and i have been joking for a while about this phenomenon but didn't really have a name for it until recently. let me first give some background for those who have not - gasp! - seen the movie beetlejuice. in beetlejuice, michael keeton plays this creepily entertaining dead guy who can be summoned by the living if they call his name three times. they say "beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice!" and in he pops, causing all sorts of trouble and chaos until he is banished again. in the beginning he seems to be a good guy, but you quickly learn he only has his own interests in mind and he keeps coming around, regardless of the fact that he isn't wanted or needed.

so, back to the theory. it has come to the attention of both rachel and myself that there are certain exes in our lives that seem to crawl out of the woodwork and contact us at the most random times. weeks or months will pass with no word from them and then suddenly - poof! - we get a call, a text, an email, a facebook message, etc. as we compared notes, we started to realize that the exes seemed to turn back up within a day, maybe hours or sometimes even minutes, of their names being brought up in conversation. hence, the beetlejuice theory was born. much like the character the theory is named after, we don't really want to hear from these people. they've been banished to our past for a reason and yet they still come around. they seemed great at first, but showed their true colors at some point and now just pop back around for various reasons, all pertaining to their own interests, not ours. inevitably, they will disappear again once they realize we are not here to play along and be at their beck and call; still, they never seem to vanish completely.

i do have to make one important note - the beetlejuice theory only works when the person who reappears is beetlejuiced on accident, i.e. mentioned in random conversation, re-telling a story, etc. it does not work to sit and chant an ex's name in the hope that he will magically text you. the whole premise of the beetlejuice theory is inadvertently summoning someone who will annoy, frustrate, and wreak havoc in your current life for their own means.

my advice - tread lightly when you talk of exes past. they will come back to haunt you in some way, shape or form.